Article: @DJKhalil, @DrDre’s Not So Secret Weapon

By June 15, 2014Music, The Xchange
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Once meeting him at 13, DJ Khalil, one of the most sought out producers in Hip Hop, now works with  his budding icon, Dr. Dre. Peace to The Urban Daily.

“…TheUrbanDaily: For people who might not be familiar, how would you describe your sound?

Khalil: My sound is like a blend of Dr. Dre and Pete Rock. Those are my two favorite producers. So I would say the west coast, funk-style from Dre but still hard and dark, and the musical part of Pete Rock and the real raw hip-hop side of him. The chopping samples and using drum breaks and all that stuff. So it’s like a combination of the two, with a little bit of the J Dilla swing…

I notice a lot of your beats have this sort of raw, electric guitar sound. How does that figure into the kind of soundscape that you create?

Yeah. Well, I like the human element in what I do. I’ve used the same guitar/bass player for 14 years, Daniel Seeff, and he’s played on pretty much everything I’ve done. And as soon as I started working with him it brought that element. People would chop stuff up and everybody would program but when I first heard Organized Noize and they were using live musicians and they were still doing chopped…I kind of took a piece of that. I always want to incorporate the live musicianship in everything I do because I feel like the human element is missing in music sometimes. Period. To me, great music is made by different musicians coming together and bringing their own talent and perspective…That’s where the magic is.

Dre has a variety of producers that work for him. What would you say you bring to the table, specifically?

In terms of with Dre, I think everybody that has ever worked with him has their own distinct style…Hi-Tek and Denaun and Focus…they do it all. I have a more dark, raw, hip-hop feel…definitely more west coast, just because I’m from LA… All of his other producers – we’re all competitive in a certain way, but the way I look at my relationship with Dre is to inspire him. And if I’m not inspiring him then I’m not doing my job. So that’s really been our relationship. And he’s a big fan of what I’ve been doing and I’ve hopefully inspired him.

Switching gears, Pink’s album “Truth About Love” is out. She collaborated with Eminem for the second time and you produced both tracks. What was that like?

Man…working with Pink changed my life. Just as a producer and creatively, it’s very intimidating, because she’s one of the biggest artists in the world. Then you add Eminem to the mix and you have two of the biggest artists in the world… And they’re kind of similar in the way that they’re both in your face and rebellious and don’t bite their tongues and aren’t afraid to touch any subject, pretty much – it’s phenomenal. And just to see her work…I did a couple of sessions with her, vocally, and she is by far one of the most talented vocalist and artists that I’ve ever worked with. She made things really easy…Pink and I really hit it off, creatively, and she loves the sound. When you work with somebody like that you’re only gonna get better because it really pushes you. It’s a hell of a responsibility to have two artists like that – and you have to make them look great. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with that.

Tell me about how you came to work with Kendrick Lamar.

I met Kendrick when he was writing for Dre. I’d been working on this track and had sent it to Dre and he loved it… So I went over to the studio to meet Kendrick…and I was really new to him – I really didn’t know all of his work. And we went in the studio and we stayed up until seven in the morning working on this record. He’d already cut two verses to it and he came out and we started talking and listening to the track and we started chopping it up and I was like, “I think you can change this part and that part,” and he was like, “really? Ok.” And we went back in and re-cut it and kept going through it and he let me produce it and help craft the whole thing. Which, I didn’t know at the time, was rare because he’s not really like that – he’ll go in and knock it out and just kill it. So the fact that he listened to my direction was impressive. And he killed it! He sent it to Dre, and I’m pretty sure Dre demoed it. And that was kind of the beginning… So around the time that he signed to Aftermath and started working on his album, I went over to the TDE Studio in Carson and took him a bunch of beats and he played me what he had already and I was blown away…”

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Via UrbanDaily

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